Alumnus Walter Ludwig, BS '81, to take over as CEO of Kenmore Mercy

Walter Ludwig

From Buffalo Business First, Dec. 13, 2017

Published December 14, 2017

Changes at the top of Kenmore Mercy Hospital are ahead with the start of the new year. Longtime CEO James Millard will retire at year’s end, with chief operating officer Walter Ludwig taking over.

Ludwig joined the hospital eight years ago, just after Millard became CEO. The two have worked side by side to manage hospital operations, with Ludwig taking the hospital through a multi-year campus reconfiguration that included a new emergency department, a knee and hip center and an ambulatory surgery unit.

That work has paid off: The leadership transition takes place on a high, following the hospital’s recognition last week as a Top Hospital by The Leapfrog Group, and its Magnet Recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

“We’ve spent the last five-six years expanding and renovating the campus, and we worked as a team here trying to get the quality up,” Ludwig said. “It’s one thing to attain all these great awards, and another to maintain that.”

A double graduate of the University at Buffalo, with degrees in pharmacy and an MBA, Ludwig brings executive-level experience to the post, having previously served as president of DeGraff Memorial Hospital for two years, then president of Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital until 2005. 

He served as a faculty member at the University of Buffalo, where he taught a graduate course in healthcare economics, and spent half a dozen years leading the Western New York Purchasing Alliance, an organization owned by the region’s major hospitals and focused on collaborative efforts to improve efficiencies. That’s what led him to Catholic Health.

“I got to peek into every hospital in Western New York for about a five-year period,” Ludwig said. “It seemed like the kind of system that had the same goals I had. I consider Catholic Health a very nurturing environment that promotes collaboration and growth in senior administration.”

The transition takes place in early January 2018.